Tennessee Whiskey the Musical is a new Broadway-style musical about the rise of songwriting icon DEAN DILLON, his personal struggles with alcoholism and drugs that almost ended his life, and his ultimate redemption and success; An emotional story told in a way that only country music can capture.
Featuring the #1 country hits of a generation:
The Chair, Unwound, Spilled Perfume, Ocean Front Property, If I Know Me, Lying In Love With You, It's a Little Too Late, and more!
Tennessee Whiskey the Musical is a show about the rise of a songwriting icon, his personal struggles with alcoholism and drugs that almost ended his life, and his ultimate redemption and success; An emotional story told in a way that only country music can capture.
The show begins at a lavish awards ceremony with famous country music stars seen in an on-screen salute to Dean Dillon. When Dean himself is called to stage to accept the award, he becomes extremely emotional and begins to reminisce about his journey up to this special moment.
As he begins to remember his past, we are taken back in time to the late 1970’s when he was a young man, and follow his move to Nashville to escape an abusive household, his career ups and downs that cause a severe addiction to alcohol and drugs, his struggles with personal and professional relationships with his wife and famous individuals such as George Strait, his near suicide, and ultimately his successful attempt to restore his life that leads us back to the moment at the awards ceremony where we began.
The journey is told with humor, emotion, and a great spirit of survival against the backdrop of famous songs that are part of the fabric of an entire generation of country music fans. It is a universal story that is sure to deeply affect not only country music lovers, but anyone who enjoys a story of the human spirit and redemption against all odds.
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3/14/2018 by Chuck Dauphin
Nashville, Tennessee has changed drastically since March of 1979 - that's a given. Still, Dean Dillon surmises that he remembers the exact location he was at when he heard one of his songs on the local airwaves for the first time -- as well as his reaction -- almost four decades later.
"Tears. Pure and simple," he says of hearing Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius' "Lying In Love With You" on the radio. "I pulled onto the side of the road at the Fesslers Lane overpass over Interstate 40, and I just started crying. To think that a song I had written would be good enough for somebody to play on the radio was an amazing thought. I came from East Tennessee, and it had always been a dream of mine. I won my first talent contest when I was fourteen. I hitchhiked to Nashville in 1973, and got lucky with that song. It was overwhelming, and a great memory."
That song made it all the way to No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and paved the way for a songwriting career that stands with anyone in Nashville - save Bill Anderson - for longevity. Dillon has tallied hits from Keith Whitley, Kenny Chesney, Vern Gosdin, and an incredible 63 (yes, you read that right) cuts from George Strait. In 2015, one of Dillon's classic compositions - once recorded by another George - put the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee's career in the fast lane once again.
"I was kind of in rest mode, kicking back and enjoying my ranch," Dillon tells Billboard. "Then, all of a sudden 'Tennessee Whiskey' (a 1983 hit for George Jones) blew up, and Chris Stapleton takes it to a whole other level. By virtue of that, I run into this producer from Colorado who wanted to do a biography on me. I thought he had lost his mind. Then, because of that, I met a gentleman named Dewey Moss from New York City. He took an interest in doing a Broadway play. I'm just overwhelmed with all of it. It's been an amazing journey."
Now, Moss is making plans to bring the story of Dean Dillon and his music to the stage in the new jukebox musical, Tennessee Whiskey: The Musical. A longtime fan and admirer of Dillon's compositions, Moss feels he can bring something special to the songwriter's story that will touch audiences of all ages.
"I, like so many people, feel like Dean Dillon's music is entrenched into the fabric of an entire generation. He's a master storyteller, first and foremost. As a writer who is looking to put together a book and a musical, you hope you can get music that tells a story - that furthers the plotline," he says, confessing that it's not a question of quality or quantity when it comes to Dean Dillon.
"I have to tell you that it wasn't a matter of what songs we could get from Dean Dillon, it was a matter of trimming all this material down. Every one of his songs is just a stunning piece of craftsmanship. It was such a pleasure to work on and have all this material to draw from - songs that I know that people are just going to love hearing within the context of the show. You're going to come because you love the music, and you're going to leave with a whole new appreciation for a man who is genuine, loving, and really beat the odds."
Casting for Tennessee Whiskey will soon take place, as well as an announcement of venue, but Moss promises that the production will be first-rate. "We're lining up some immense talent. We've got a Broadway staff, set designers, costume designers, who have all looked at the script, and all love Dean's music. We're going to do a casting call for people to play Dean, and of course, George Strait. Hopefully, we will get exactly the right talent to play these icons of country music. We're close to inking some deals with venues - information we can't divulge just yet, but soon. I think we are going to have a real solid show on our hands that people are just going to love. That all comes from Dean, his incredible spirit - and of course, his talent."
What qualities would the tunesmith himself like to see in whoever portrays him on-stage? "Hopefully, they'll find somebody that will come across the way that I really am. I'm a pretty easy-going guy. I will tell you this - I live, sleep, eat, and breathe songs. It would be nice to have somebody who is a songwriter, someone who knows what it takes to write great songs and what you have to go through to write them. There's a whole lot more to it than just putting a pen to paper. That's who I'd prefer, but I'm not the casting director. I'll leave it to Dewey," he says with confidence.
When reminded of the fact that George Clooney did very well combining matinee-idol looks while playing a musician in the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Dillon didn't miss a beat.
"Well," he said sheepishly, "Is he a great songwriter?"
Dean Dillon was born on March 26, 1955, in Lake City, TN and started playing guitar at the age of 7. At the age of 15 he appeared in a local Knoxville, TN Variety Show called JIM CLAYTON’S STARTIME as a songwriter and performer; by the end of high school, Dean Dillon had his mind set on Nashville.
After hitchhiking to Music City in the early 70’s, it wasn’t long before he caught the watchful eye of Shelby Singleton of SUN RECORDS. After a short recording stint that produced one record, Dean was once again walking the streets of a town he barely knew. In 1976 Dillon landed the role of Hank Williams in Opryland’s Country Music Show, USA. The theme park gig indirectly helped Dillon secure his first publishing deal with Nashville producer, publisher Tom Collins. Three weeks later Barbara Mandrell recorded three of Dillon’s songs. In 1979 Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius had a number 1 hit with Dillon’s “Lying Here In Love with You” a song he co-wrote with fellow tunesmith Gary Harrison of “Strawberry Wine” fame. It was both writers first number 1 hit record.
Although it was writing songs for others where Dillon’s future lay, the young singer was hell bent on making it as a recording artist. Between 1979 and 1981 Dillon released 12 singles for RCA Records. Three of the songs reached the Top 30 on the country charts, including “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her,” which climbed all the way to number 25 (and later became a number 1 hit for George Strait). Between1979 and 1983, as an artist Dillon charted eight times and broke the Top 30 with “I’m into the Bottle (To Get You out of My Mind).” He also wrote hits for other country stars like the 1983 George Jones number 1 hit “Tennessee Whiskey”. These successes established Dillon as a performer and as a songwriter. It wasn’t long until Dillon was paired by RCA Record head, Jerry Bradley, with Gary Stewart, the “King of the Honky Tonkers.” The vices of the two men fed off of each other and while their two bleary, good-timing albums were successful and looked like hard-living prototypes to Brooks & Dunn, (especially 1982’s Brotherly Love), the partnership had little use for the straight and narrow. After “Those were the Days”, Dillon took a five year hiatus from recording, cleaned up his personal life and concentrated on songwriting. He wrote or co-wrote a number of hits during this period and had considerable success with George Strait, who took five of his songs to the charts between 1981 & 1988. The exposure landed Dillon a new contract with CAPITOL RECORDS, who released two Ricky Scruggs produced albums, Slick Nickel and I’ve Learned to Live. The later featured a Tanya Tucker duet “Don’t You Even Think About Leaving.” Dillon next signed with ATLANTIC, where he issued his most successful album. It was 1991’s Out of Your Mind which referenced the hard country of Dillon’s heroes, but it also flirted with pop. The LP was lauded as a throwback, an answer to Nashville’s penchant for vapidity.
In 2002, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (along with Bob Dylan and Shel Silverstein). Early the following year Dillon signed a songwriting contract with Sony/A TV Tree, which came after his fifteen year relationship with Rose Acuff, a publishing company Sony acquired in July 2002.
Dean Dillon’s songwriting has thrived. He has recently written songs for famous faces like Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and Lee Ann Womack. His association with George Strait over the years has brought him to an ICON STATUS in country music. It’s the relationship with Strait that has, to a large extent, defined both of their careers. And in a genre built on great songwriters writing for great singers, there has never been another team like it. Dillon has composed or co-written 63 songs for Strait, including 19 singles, 11 which went to number 1. Even in a career like Strait’s, the Dillon titles stand out: “Marina del Rey”, “The Chair”, “I’ve Come to Expect it From You”, “Easy Come, Easy Go”, “She Let Herself Go”, and “The Best Day.” His songs all pair instantly catchy melodies with gutbucket country lyrics, signature qualities of a Dillon composition that would also become hallmarks of Strait’s own style and sound.
As producer Tony Brown explained “they are the elements that allow Strait to sound traditional without sounding old-timey.
At his ranch home in Gunnison, Colorado, Dean Dillon’s walls display an array of timely photographs and awards consisting of: 1985 Billboard Country Music Artist Of The Year Award; 1986 Nashville Song Writers Award; 1995, 1996, 1998 CMA TRIPLE PLAY AWARD ; Three Time Grammy Nominee; Lee Iacocca Award (American Automotive Division); Twenty Six (26) Number 1 Records Award; and the coveted 2013 BMI Icon Award.
DMoss Productions (Lead Producer)
Dewey Moss, Lead producer and bookwriter of Tennessee Whiskey the Musical, is an award-winning director, writer, and actor whose performance career has spanned Broadway shows, concert appearances, film/TV work, and opera. As a writer and director, his debut feature film A Normal Life won critical acclaim in film festivals worldwide and is currently in distribution. His screenplay All the Way from Arp, Texas is currently in pre-production. His play, Death of the Persian Prince, about Iranian gay men forced to have sex changes to avoid execution, made its world premiere at the 2015 Midtown International Theater Festival. The play subsequently ran at the South Asian International Theater Festival where it won Best Play, and then a run at the historical Duo Theater. The Crusade of Connor Stephens played at the 2016 Midtown International Theater Festival where it won 7 awards including Best Play, and then moved to a successful commercial Off-Broadway run at Jerry Orbach Theater. The play has been optioned by Diceman House cinemas, and production of the film is scheduled to begin in 2018 with Dewey serving as Executive Producer. Other projects in development include For Such a Time as This, The Southern Baptist Biddy Band (and their dirty little secret), and Tennessee Whiskey the Musical. As a Creative Director for several major advertising firms, Dewey has written and produced/directed hundreds of commercials, industrials, and webisodes, many of which have been Telly Award-winning. Dewey is a graduate of the Commercial Theater Institute. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, he is the author of the acting handbook Learning the Art of Imperfection.
Wildcatters Network (Producer)
Wildcatters Network, headquartered in Texas, is not only an online magazine with a focus on the business and lifestyle of a Wildcatter, it is also a group of like-minded investors that participate in unique and exciting investment opportunities. Wildcatters Network has active investments in virtual reality, medical research, software development, and the entertainment industry.
The Launchpad Group (Producer)
The Launchpad Group, headquartered in Studio City, CA and is a full-service agency founded by a multicultural melting pot of minds that have developed and grown global brands. The agency works daily with brands in strategy, experiential, digital, social media, media production and content creation.
LDK Productions (Producer/General Management)
Lisa Dozier King has general managed more than seventy professional productions as well as hundreds of special events in New York City, including most recently The Crusade of Connor Stephens, Love, Genius & a Walk, A Letter to Harvey Milk. Select Off Broadway Credits: Vincent, Promising, Bedbugs the Musical, The Erlkings, Breakfast with Mugabe, Final Analysis, F#%king Up Everything, Sistas the Musical, Bronte: A Portrait of Charlotte, Ten Chimneys, The Duchess of Malfi, How to be a Good Italian Daughter, Milk, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Into the Hazard (Henry 5), The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall, Jeff Daniels’ Apartment 3A. She has also been on staff at the New 42nd Street, Manhattan Theatre Club, Symphony Space, American Repertory Theatre and New York Stage & Film. Lisa is the director of the BFA Theatre Management program at the University of Miami and is the founding managing director for the new theatre company Miami New Drama, that produces and manages the 400 seat Colony Theatre on Miami Beach. She has also been the resident general manager for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals for the last decade.
RED RISING (Advertising/Marketing)
Red Rising Marketing is responsible for developing key marketing, promotional and advertising campaigns for hit Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Current clients include Tennessee Whiskey the Musical, SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical, A Bronx Tale, Jersey Boys, A Letter to Harvey Milk, Cherry Lane Theatre’s First Love, Ensemble for the Romantic Century’s Tchaikovsky: None But The Lonely Heart and BroadwayInsider.com. In an 18+ year career in the Theatre Industry, Michael Redman has work on over 250 productions and events in NYC and beyond. For more information, visit www.redrisingnyc.com .
Girlilla Marketing (Social Media Strategies)
Sarah Moore has been navigating the dynamic world of social media since 2007. She has worked her way from local arts marketing and coordination to working with some of the most well-known names in entertainment including Kid Rock, Mariah Carey, Bon Jovi, Tim McGraw, Jimmy Buffett, and Keith Urban. Sarah’s unique experience combines website and application development, graphic design and social and digital strategy to facilitate 360 degree campaigns with measurable results. Her extended experience includes many years of working directly with digital development companies to translate a client’s specific goals and objectives, and act as a liaison to connect those needs to technological resources that can accommodate them. In addition to entertainment social media and development, she has worked directly on a campaign basis with big brands such as Time INC, Jack Daniels, Harley Davidson, and more. Sarah is currently the CMO of Girlilla Marketing based in Nashville, TN. Her unique approach is centered on consistent and engaging content posting that builds community around artists and brands alike.